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Archive for the category “Freedom of Religion”

Changing My Mind On the Election at the Eleventh Hour

A few weeks ago I posted a couple of links to blog posts from Thabiti Anyabwile regarding not voting in tomorrow’s election. Since that time, I’ve been strongly leaning toward not voting in this year’s presidential election. I’ve been becoming ever more tired of politics in this great country with each passing year. I’ve gone from essentially a straight-ticket Republican to a cynical, reluctant participant in the election process who thinks all politicians are the worst of liars & wouldn’t know what their constituents believe/desire if one was standing in front of them telling them exactly what he/she thinks.

I’ve flirted with voting for a third-party candidate because I feel like the two-party system is a farce & only serves to further polarize our nation. I don’t buy the arguments (generally) that voting third-party (or abstaining from voting) is necessarily wasting your vote as long as you have taken the time to be informed about the candidates, issues, & political climate. I’ve been intrigued by Gary Johnson (I’m pretty sure economically-speaking I’m a libertarian at heart) & have posted some things about & by him on Facebook, but there are a few issues that he supports that make me a bit iffy about him.

I don’t believe a candidate has to line up exactly with me on all issues, but there does need to be some similarities across a broad range of issues.

All of that to say this: I’ve changed my mind for this election. I will be voting for president from the only two choices who have a shot at winning the office.

What made me change my mind, you ask? Well, it occurred after carefully reading through the posts linked to in A Multitude of Counselors | the Cripplegate. (I warn you; one or two of the posts linked to there are quite offensive in tone, & while I don’t condone that tone, the overall arguments are worth considering)

It comes down, essentially, to two things: math & life.

Frank Turk at the Pyromaniacs blog shows mathematically how a third-party vote or a non-vote helps to ensure victory for Obama.

Oh. Did I forget to mention that I wouldn’t be voting for Obama? And it has nothing to do with the color of his skin, where he was born, thinking he’s the Antichrist, or any other craziness like that. I won’t vote for him because I disagree with the majority of his policies not the least of which are his views/policies regarding abortion.

The two most accurate national polls from the 2008 election currently have Obama & Romney between one & three percentage points from each other. For me, after reading Turk’s analysis, this is too close of an election to “make a point” by giving my vote to a third-part candidate–especially since I am one of those red-side voters he mentions.

The reason I now think this is so important is primarily because I believe in the sanctity of life–>from conception to natural death. President Obama & the Democratic Party do not come close to holding my views on this issue:

“On the issue of abortion, the Republican platform states, ‘we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.’ The Democratic platform states: ‘The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.'[…]One party claims that no abortions should be legal and the other claims that all abortions should be legal.”–Albert Mohler

Obama’s record clearly shows full support of abortions at any stage of development. And while you might question Romney’s pro-life stance, here’s what we do know (according to Dan Phillips):

  1. We know that, of all the folks he could have chosen, Romney chose a VP with an outspoken and 100% pro-life record.
  2. We know that Planned Parenthood loves abortion, loves Obama, hates Romney.
  3. We know that he’s convinced activist Gary Bauer.
  4. We know that Romney is supported by The Right to Life of Michigan Political Action Committee, the Susan B. Anthony list, National Right to Life, Colorado Citizens for Life, and other groups.
You don’t like the exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother. I don’t like two of those three, either. So supposing Romney succeeds in preventing abortions except for those cases. You do know that that means preventing more than nine out of ten abortions, don’t you? Whereas your only other alternative, Barack Obama, favors preventing zero abortions?
The other issue in regards to life that I feel I have to consider this time around is the issue of the Supreme Court. The court is currently mostly balanced with 4 left-leaning judges, 4 right-leaning judges, and 1 swing vote. There seems to be a significant potential for the next president to significantly affect the makeup of the Court depending on who might retire or pass away during his term. I feel much more comfortable with a more conservative-leaning court than with a more liberal-leaning court that would potentially be more willing too re-interpret the Constitution.
On these two points alone, I feel I need to vote for Mitt Romney & against Barack Obama. And that doesn’t even include considering Obama’s fiscal irresponsibility, attacks on freedom of religion, etc.
Listen, I’m not thrilled about voting for Romney; if there were a better choice out there, I’d go for it. But, as Kevin DeYoung, points out, the question we should ask ourselves when it comes to the election is “How can I, with my vote, best advance what I believe to be the proper role and goals of government?” I personally believe in this election that I can answer that question with a vote for Romney. There may come an election when I think I can best answer that question with a vote for a third-party candidate in order to try to change the status quo & break up the the two-party monopoly (and, actually, when it comes to the US Senate race in Ohio, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing), but I don’t believe this is the election in which to do that.
Now, keep in mind, I fully believe in Romans 13:1. I believe God is sovereign over all things & will use whichever man wins this election for His good purposes. BUT…God has also placed me in a country whose form of government includes the privilege of the people being allowed to vote, & so I will prayerfully do so.
I will leave you with a prayer from John Piper regarding elections:

Father in heaven, as we approach this election on Tuesday, I pray

1) that your people will vote,

2) and that they will vote with a sense of thankfulness for a democratic system that at least partially holds in check the folly and evil in all our hearts so that power which corrupts so readily is not given to one group or person too easily;

3) that we would know and live the meaning of

  • being in the world, but not of it,
  • doing politics as though not doing them,
  • being on the earth, yet having our lives hidden with Christ in God,
  • rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s;

4) that we would discern what truths and values should advance by being made law and which should advance only by the leavening of honest influence;

5) that your people would see what love and justice and far-seeing wisdom demand in regard to the issues of education, business and industry, health care, marriage and family, abortion, welfare, energy, government and taxes, military, terrorism, international relations, and every challenge that we will face in the years to come;

6) and above all, that we will treasure Jesus Christ, and tell everyone of his sovereignty and supremacy over all nations, and that long after America is a footnote to the future world, he will reign with his people from every tribe and tongue and nation.

Keep us faithful to Christ’s all important Word, and may we turn to it every day for light in these dark times.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Do All Religions Lead to God?

I originally posted these questions in May 2009 as part of a rather lengthy religious discussion I was involved with on Facebook with some of my friends. One of my friends had, in essence, argued that there are many paths to God even though she claimed to believe in the God of the Bible. The following was part of my response to her in an attempt to get her to think through the implications of her claim. I still think they are important things to consider if you are going to try to claim that all religions are equally valid.

1. If Christianity is equal to any other religion, why does the Bible repeatedly say there is only ONE God & ONE way to Him?

2. What about Satanic worship? Is it a legitimate religion? And if not, on what foundation can you make that claim?

3. What about polytheism (belief in many different gods)? How does it fit into the “many paths to God” belief?

4. Why are different religions contradictory to each other if they all lead to the same God?

5. Why would God create multiple religions when any one religion is essentially available to the whole world?

6. Is it illogical to think that God would punish those that choose to deny the way He set forth regardless of how “good” they are?

7. Are we trying to conform God to our finite understanding?

8. If Genesis 1:1 is true, is it not possible that the entire Bible is true?

9. If all religions are viable ways to God/heaven, who goes to hell? Does anyone go to hell? If some people go to hell, what is the standard for sending them there?

And finally (and I personally think this is the big one):

10. Why would Jesus willingly sacrifice Himself if there were other ways to God? Why would He even lower Himself and come to earth?

Was CfA Appreciation Day Worth It?

Ever since I first heard about Mike Huckabee’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, there was something about it that bothered me. On some level I didn’t like the idea, but I just wasn’t able to figure out exactly what it was.

I love CfA’s food & their customer service is probably the best of any company with which I’ve ever dealt. I agree with Dan Cathy’s statements, & I don’t think they were a surprise or in any way hateful. I despised the way the media created a story where (at least initially) there really wasn’t one (see here for a good explanation of this). I was only slightly surprised by the intolerance of those that claimed tolerance (Thomas Menino, Rahm Emanuel, etc.).

So why would I be suspect of CfA Appreciation Day?

Shouldn’t we show solidarity with those with whom we agree? Especially our Christian brothers & sisters? Isn’t it important to stand up for Free Speech & the Free Exercise of Religion?

Well, yes but…

The first article to capture what I was struggling with but unable to express was at Deep Roots Library. There are lots of things I could quote from the post because I generally agree with the entire thing, but, basically, I had reservations over CfA Appreciation Day because “The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation”. Standing in line for hours to eat chicken (delicious though it may be) in support of a man’s biblical views is decidedly NOT the Gospel. In case you’re unaware, the Gospel is the good news that even though we have each committed treason against the Almighty Creator of the universe (also known as “sin”) & deserve eternal punishment (b/c that treason was against an eternal God), God in His mercy & grace has provided a way for us to be forgiven & reconciled to Him if we would only believe on Jesus Christ (his life, death, & resurrection) & repent of our sins (turn away from those sins & turn to Jesus).

God has called His people to go preach the Gospel & make disciples. He has not called us to fight the Great Liberal Left Enemy. He has not called us to take easy stands against a progressive agenda by doing something that we love to do anyway (i.e.-eat delicious chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, hand-spun shakes, etc.). He has called us to proclaim His good news, & that good news will be offensive to many & will cause us to be hated & persecuted; that is a promise from God! We are told that we will be hated for Jesus’ sake, but we are not told that we should go forth & try to make people hate us. In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us to live in harmony with one another, to not repay evil with evil, & to live peaceably with all (Romans 12:14-21).

By reacting in this way, are we acting in a loving manner & turning the other cheek? Or are we fighting fire with fire (by doing what amounts to anti-boycotting a boycott)? If so, is that the Christ-like way to respond? When we do such things, I’m concerned that it harms our testimony to the Gospel. I think this is similar to an article on poor tipping that I linked to on my Facebook page a week or two ago; when we tip poorly or react to something negative in kind manner, we may be failing to demonstrate the love, mercy, & generosity that Christ has shown to us. When we fail (& we all do & will sometimes) at these things, it demonstrates to the world that we are no different from from the world. What Christ did & what He taught was radically different from what the world taught & continues to teach.

I don’t think it was necessarily wrong to support CfA Appreciation Day, but we each, on an individual level, should examine our hearts closely before doing these kinds of things to ensure that we are doing it out of love rather than merely in a reactionary way or out of spite. And we should be aware of how those that we might hope to win to Christ may view our actions.

Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”(John 13:35) And, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”(Matt 22:39)

I just wonder if this is what was demonstrated last Wednesday or not. I wonder if there were not better ways to stand up for the 1st Amendment, &, even more so, were there not better ways to demonstrate God’s love, grace, mercy, & forgiveness without compromising our beliefs.

Here are some other posts that I found helpful:

Why the Chick-fil-A Boycott is Really about Jesus

Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day: A bold mistake

A response to my Critics

Lots & Lots & Lots O’ Links

So I haven’t had much time to post anything on here for a few weeks, but I’ve still been collecting links to things I find interesting, important, &/or edifying. So here’s a whole slew of things I’ve come across…

A little on the gay marriage debate to start with:

A thought on the homosexual marriage debate – Reformation21 Blog.–It is important to keep in mind Romans 1:18-32 when thinking about or discussing homosexual marriage. Let those verses influence your perspective on the subject.

Carl Trueman also has a little blurb on this subject–Around and About – Reformation21 Blog.

Along those same lines Alan Shlemon at Stand to Reason Blog asks  Is Homosexuality the Worst Sin of All?. He makes several good points, not the least of which is

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 places homosexuals among other sinners like thieves, drunks, swindlers, and fornicators. And 1 Timothy 1:8-11 lists them among liars, rebels, slave traders, and other sinners. There’s no special designation for any of these sins

Going Down? Dawkins, Doubters & Debauchery–The problem with holding staunchly to an atheist world-view is that eventually that world-view breaks down & you cannot defend your position.

The Name–We cannot make God’s name greater; it is already great.

Read more…

I’m Not Letting This Go

The more posts I come across regarding the Obama administration’s total disregard of the 1st Amendment, the more I’m going to keep passing them along…

Law forcing sales of abortion pill struck down. Hopefully, this will set a precedent when the Obama administration’s war on religion through contraceptives invariably goes before the courts.

“The Con” – a video presented by AUL – YouTube.  Whether you’re religious or not, this issue should be important to you.

UPDATED–Contraceptives & the War on Religion

Do not be fooled! The contraceptives controversy is not really a controversy over contraceptives, or women’s rights, or abortion; it is controversy surrounding freedom of religion & whether that freedom should exist in any meaningful way. (Sorry that so many of these links are to Gene Veith’s blog, but he does such a good job of covering these kinds of issues).

Declaring war on religion.–“Obama is claiming the executive authority to determine which missions of believers are religious and which are not — and then to aggressively regulate institutions the government declares to be secular. It is a view of religious liberty so narrow and privatized that it barely covers the space between a believer’s ears.”

How our government thinks of religion.–Here’s what the Obama administration apparently thinks: “Whenever a church or house of worship ceases to be simply inward-looking, when it in any way engages or serves the wider public, it becomes subject to much the same sort of government regulation as any secular entity.”–In other words, if your church decides to obey God’s commands & care for the widow, orphaned, & oppressed, you cease to be a church & rather become a secular institution.

Officially re-defining religion. –“It’s basically the same one [definition] used in the former Soviet Union, which provided for “religious freedom” in its constitution, construed as private interior beliefs, while at the same time forbidding evangelism, worship, education, religious child-raising, and any other external expression of religion in actual life.”

Calls for an American dictator.–I think this fits well with the contraceptives controversy: ” we must take care not to jettison our liberties in a panicked  desire for the government to ‘do something.'”

LCMS President’s statement on HHS mandate.-“Again, this is not just a Catholic issue.  All conservative Christian ministries and pro-life organizations are being put in the position of having to pay for abortion pills.”

Your religion mustn’t affect your life!.–SAY WHAT?!!!

Forcing a company to give away a product for free.–“Where does it say that the president can unilaterally order a private company to provide an allegedly free-standing service at no cost to certain select beneficiaries?”

Compromise on insurance birth control mandate?.–“Does this really solve the problem? Aren’t all of the expenses of an insurance company ultimately and necessarily passed on to the customers?”

The Church of Obama – Mark Steyn – National Review Online.–” In essence President Obama has embarked on the same usurpation of church authority as Henry VIII[…]” Which is exactly the kind of authority our founding fathers were trying to separate from with the inclusion of the Establishment Clause.

Do 98% of Catholic women use contraceptives?.–This is just despicable!

Media shirk debate on religious liberty » GetReligion.–If you listen to most of mainstream media’s accounts of this debate, you would think this is merely a conservative attempt to limit “women’s rights.”–Well, here’s a not-so-subtle hint for you: It’s not about women’s rights; it’s about RELIGIOUS LIBERTY aka FREEDOM OF RELIGION.

UPDATE:

AlbertMohler.com – What Compromise? This Policy Leaves Religious Liberty in Peril and Planned Parenthood Smiling.–“But, just to state the obvious, a policy goal and an ‘inalienable right’ are not to be ‘balanced.'”

 

Why Requiring Employers (Insurers) to Cover Contraceptives is Wrong

Nearly 3 weeks ago, I published a post in response to the President’s decision that religious-affiliated employers will be required to cover birth-control pills including abortifacents. I asked (in essence), “how should Christians respond when the government goes too far?” And specifically, I asked, “How do you oppose the President & his policy & still adhere to Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1, & 1 Peter 2:13-17?” Well, I got no response, and I’m really no closer to knowing exactly what the right response should be (or even if there is one right response), but here are some links on why this issue is so important (even if you’re not opposed to birth-control), what some Christian leaders are advocating in response, & a couple of other links on abortion & Planned Parenthood.

The FAQs: The Contraceptive-Abortifacient Mandate – The Gospel Coalition Blog. Here is why this controversy is so important: “If the mandate is allowed to stand it will set a precedent that the government can not only force citizens to violate their most deeply held beliefs but that we can be sanctioned for refusing to do so.”

“Please get the federal government out of our consciences”. From the testimony of the President of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church before the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform

Christian Civil Disobedience against the U. S. Government? – Justin Taylor. Here is what Rick Warren, Chuck Colson, & Timothy George have to say.

On my mind and heart… « A Work in Progress. A passionate plea for Christians not to try to justify (even in part) the supposed good things that Planned Parenthood does.

More bullying from Planned Parenthood. Just one more reason I have no respect whatsoever for Planned Parenthood.

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